Archive | September, 2011

Eggplant and Sundried Tomato Dip

25 Sep

I often feel like the best part of any meal is the dip at the beginning.  So I’m bringing you my second dip recipe of the week!  I created this recipe a year go because I needed to find a new way to use up my eggplant before it went bad.  I love the earthy taste of roasted veggies and there’s nothing easier than throwing all of the ingredients in a blender.

Eggplant and Sundried Tomato Dip (serves 4)

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 tbs fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 oz container herb goat cheese
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 6 sundried tomatoes with a little oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt, plus a sprinkle
  • 1 tbs pepper, plus a sprinkle

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In the meantime, peel and chop your eggplant into bite sized pieces.  Transfer eggplant to a bowl, and mix with 2 tbs olive oil, sage and rosemary.  Spread eggplant onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for approx 25 minutes.  Let eggplant cool and then transfer to a large food processor.  I typically use my blender since I have a mini processor.  Add packet of goat cheese and sundried tomatoes with a little of their oil.  Pulse a few times on the chopped setting, then add the rest of salt and pepper and stir.  Blend again on the chopped setting for about another minute until dip gets to your desired consistency.  I like my dip thick and so it stands up to pita chips.  If you like your dip a little thinner, feel free to add a bit more oil and blend longer. 

Also, apologies for the lack of pictures!  It’s been a busy week and I accidentally ate all the dip pre post… 🙂

Quick Tzatziki Dip

19 Sep

A few days ago I made a light fig cake.  Those of you who know me, know I’m unable to sit still while waiting for anything.  So, I decided I would throw together a Quick Tzatziki Dip to distract me from staring down the timer or perching in front of the oven window.

Quick Tzatziki Dip

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (greek or whole milk)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • half a medium-sized cucumber, diced into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs chopped garlic
  • sprinkle of salt, pepper and oregano to taste

In a bowl add your yogurt, chopped cucumber, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.  Stir to make sure you have the right consistency, and add salt, pepper and oregano.  Taste to adjust the flavors and serve cool from the fridge with fresh raw veggies or warm toasted pita.  Most traditional tzatziki dips include fresh chopped dill instead of oregano. I leave this part up to you. I also think it’s delicious with grilled chicken, lamb or even salmon.

 This dip is neither complicated nor photogenic.  It IS flavorful, fast and a real crowd-pleaser.  Try making this for your next gathering.

Golden Fig Cake

17 Sep

I’m excited to share this new recipe with you as it is my first cake recipe from scratch!  If you bake you understand how truly scary that can be (ahem Thundercake anyone).  Unlike cooking, baking is a science and measurements matter.  Some of the most important ingredients for my Golden Fig Cake are pictured below


Golden Fig Cake

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, browned
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup plain low-fat or whole milk yogurt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • half of a small jar of Dalmatia fig spread

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8 x 8 baking dish.  Over medium-low heat, melt the butter until it takes on a light brown color (approx 4-5 mins).  Keep an eye on the butter, as browned butter equals delicious and burned butter equals ruined.  Transfer browned butter to the bowl of an electric mixer and add brown sugar and granulated sugar. 

Use the paddle attachment on your mixer, and add the eggs one at a time while using the low-speed.  Once incorporated, add the vanilla extract and yogurt.  Mix on low until blended and creamy (approx 2 mins).  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in the mixer using the low-speed.  Mix just until batter is combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a wooden spoon.  Bake the cake for 40 mins, or until edges begin to take on a lightly golden color and a toothpick comes out clean. The rest of the cake will still be very pale in color.

With about 7 mins left on your cake, melt fig spread with 2 tbs water on your stove top over medium low heat.  The spread will resemble a liquidy glaze with chunks of the fig in it.  Once the cake is finished baking, pour fig glaze over cake, and return to oven for 8 mins.  The glaze will be bubbly and take on a golden color when it is finished.  Cool completely before serving.

This cake is moist and tangy, without being overly sweet. It would be delicious served warm at breakfast with coffee, or for dessert with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  I hope you all enjoy it and feel free to lie to my face if you don’t!

Take Two! PCR Bread Pudding

15 Sep

Mmm mmm!  Weren’t those pumpkin cinnamon rolls delish?  If you are like me, you ate plenty, but still had a hard time getting through all of them before they went stale.  Lucky for you, I have a solution!  Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bread PuddingGasp, yes I am serious. The best part is you’ve already done the hard part and it takes very few ingredients to pull this recipe off.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding (serves 8 )

  • 8 Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half (or whole milk)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar 
  • Cooking spray


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and add chopped up leftover rolls. 

In a separate bowl, mix the half and half, eggs, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract with a whisk.  Pour the liquid over your chopped up rolls and let soak for 20 mins.  You’ll know it’s ready when some of the liquid is absorbed back into the rolls.  Bake for 45 mins.  Sprinkle brown sugar over bread putting and bake for an additional 5-10 mins. 

Voila!  Your custard should be set.  If not, just add a few more mins.  This is a great way to use up leftovers and create a wonderful dessert.  It’s so good you’ll forget you are eating leftovers ;).

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

11 Sep

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Oh how I love thee, Fall.  If you remember my Top 5 post, you’ll know that cinnamon rolls are a real favorite of mine.  There’s just nothing better.  In fact, the only way to improve a traditional roll is to add a punch of pumpkin

This recipe is from one of my favorite blogs called Good Life Eats.   It’s a bit involved, and you have to work with yeast, but the results are just scrumptious!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from Good Life Eats)

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm milk (I used skim)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbs melted butter
  • 3 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar

First, stir your yeast into warm water in a large bowl.  Let it sit for 5 mins before stirring to combine.  Add the milk, eggs, pumpkin, butter, 1 1/4 cups flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ginger to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 mins.

Slowly add in the remaining flour, a little bit at a time, until the dough is stiff enough to knead. Begin with 1 1/2 cups of flour and increase if necessary. Knead the dough on a floured surface.  Add additional flour until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Put the dough in a greased bowl. Coat the entire dough ball in the bowl with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, approximately 1 hr.

Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a another bowl, and set aside. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough and then sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

Roll the dough into a log the long way; it’ll stretch to about 20″ long as you roll. Using a very sharp knife (I sprayed my with cooking spray), slice the log into 15 slices. You’ll need to wipe the knife off between slices. Place slices in a greased 9×13 inch baking pan (or in two 8 or 9 inch round cake or pie pans). Cover with a towel and let rise (again) until almost doubled, about 45 mins.  I’ll be honest here, my dough didn’t rise as much as I would have hoped.  I can promised that it didn’t affect the taste in the least.

Bake in a preheated 375° oven. The rolls should take about 20-30 mins, and will look brown around the edges and a light golden brown across the center.

While rolls bake, you can prepare the cream cheese frosting.  Add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice to a small food processor. Blend until smooth and combined.  Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending in between, until well-mixed.  Here’s where you get to decide how thin or thick your like your frosting!  Frost warm rolls with the cream cheese frosting and serve immediately.

These were ooey gooey good!  Stay tuned because I have a great way to use up the rest of your leftover rolls later this week.

8 Minute Chicken Soup

7 Sep


Ooooooh it is icky outside!  I’m fighting a sore throat, and the last thing I wanted to do after a long day at work was make something complicated.

Boy do I have a quick and easy meal for you!  Enter my 8 Minute Chicken Soup.

8 Minute Chicken Soup (serves 1-2)
-1 cup cooked chicken (rotisserie)
-2 3/4 cups chicken broth
-1 cup orzo
-1 tbs chopped garlic
-juice of 1 lemon
-1 tbs fresh thyme
-salt and pepper to taste

In a small pot bring chicken broth and garlic to a boil.  Pour in orzo and add lemon juice.  After 5 mins add shredded chicken and stir.  Taste your soup and add salt and pepper to taste.  After 3 more mins take off the heat and add in fresh thyme leaves.  Your orzo should be cooked like rice.  Pour in a bowl and enjoy. 

Cozy AND easy huh!  Need to clear out your sinuses?  Add more black pepper and some cayenne pepper.  Like the flavor of citrus?  Add more lemon.  This soup is barely a recipe and yours to customize.  Now gets some rest and remember we are already half way to the weekend!

Thai X-ing Review

5 Sep

Hi friends!  We’re friends right?  I’m asking because friends can keep a secret, and I am about to write about one of the best kept secrets in DC.

I first heard about Thai X-ing from my much cooler, more adventurous, younger sister K-mac.  She told me that 20 of her friends were having her birthday dinner in this guy’s house in Shaw, it was seven plus courses of Thai food, byob, and cash only.  Let’s just say I did not have high hopes.

As usual (and I may never live this down), she was right about this place.  It’s legit.  I went for a second time on Friday for a friend’s going-away party.  The food was so good, I thought we might have changed the guest of honor’s mind!

Here’s a look at our meal to the best of my recollection.  I’m not 100% sure on the names of all of these courses, as the chef changes his menu frequently for the group dining option.

Course #1  Stuffed Cucumber and Ground Pork Soup.

Course #2 Spicy Ginger Ground Chicken with Parsley. This dish is so hot it gets your adrenaline going like a roller coaster.  While the carnivores sweated our way through this dish, the chef served my veg sister a spicy cabbage noodle dish (not pictured).

Course #3 Pumpkin CurryThis dish is a house specialty and I heard the chef serves it regularly with the group menu.  Frankly, I would have been happy just having this dish for dinner! 

Course # 4 Steamed Whole Fish with Garlic Pepper Sauce.

Course #5 included a Tofu and Bean dish (above) and a Beef and Eggplant Stir Fry (not pictured).

Course # 6 Chicken Drumsticks in Cinnamon CurryAgain, I’m not sure what else was in this rich curry, but there was definitely a note of cinnamon in the background.

Course # 7 Red Mussels (above) and Drunken Noodles (below).

Course # 8 Sliced Mango with Coconut Sticky Rice.  I’m not really a mango-lover, but still ate a piece.  The sticky rice was just awesome and I could probably eat it everyday.

I’m giving the food an A for authenticity and overall amazingness.  Since I really only care about the food…my Overall Rating is an A for Thai-XingThis place has no ambiance (and no shoes permitted), so bring excellent company and wear comfortable clothes.  

As my friends, I invite you to check this place out.  But shhhhhhh!  Let’s keep this place on the down-low, and to quote the great Adam Sandler, “no-one gots to know about it!”